Manon Wertenbroek

Colourful, vibrant and intense are some words that come to mind when describing Wertenbroek. She likes to challenge peoples perception of what photography can be, flirting with borders of mediums and seeing what reaction she can obtain from that.

Since graduating from ECAL in 2014, one of Switzerland’s prestigious art and design universities, Wertenbroek has been carving her way into gallery spaces from Netherlands to Belgium, Italy to France, among them appearances at Art Basel and Amsterdam’s Foam Gallery. She is currently completing a one year artist residency at the Swiss Institute in Rome in which she will delve deeper into the fusion of photography and art.

Get to know the real Manon below.

 

 
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Who is Manon Wertenbroek and what does she do???

I am a swiss dutch artist, based in Rome at the moment working with photography and paint

Where did you grow up and what do you call home now??

I grew up in a village called Chexbres, between Lausanne and Vevey, Switzerland. Surrounded by the vineyards and lake Geneva.

I am constantly moving between Rome, Lausanne and Paris this year. And planning to move to Amsterdam in July, so home is quite hard to define right now. I would say itʼs these 4 cities all together. Italy for the residency in am doing at the Swiss Institute right now, France for love and friends, Switzerland for work and family and The Netherlands for future adventures.

 

Did you grow up in a creative household?? Any other family members share the same path as you?

Both my parents are very creative and passionate people, however they donʼt work as artists. My mom used to customize a lot of objects for decorations at home and to sew all my clothes when I was little, while my father has always been very much interested into modern art painting and design. Both know a lot about crafting techniques and art history and were always very enthusiastic and supportive about me being creative as a child.

You obtained a Bachelor in Visual Communication & Photography at Lausanne’s ECAL, did you enjoy your time there?? What would you say was the most important thing you learnt from this place?

Ecal is a lot about aesthetics which means you learn how to create powerful images but also gets stuck into a certain type of style.
This is something I started to doubt and deconstruct after school, which I am still figuring out today.


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Three words to best describe your aesthetic?

colourful, vibrant, intense

 
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Describe the creative process behind some of your works, what inspires/ motivates you??

Iʼve always found my different approaches of photography through experimenting a lot in the studio. Which means cutting out, carving and assembling diverse materials I feel attracted to and building sets to photograph them in the end. Somehow visually, I approach the three dimensional space as a succession of layers and color fields getting together to form a flat surface which in contained into a photograph.

It feels like composing a painting out of objects and light looking through a small window which would be the camera.

The subjects are very instinctive and tend to be linked with my personal experience or strong emotional states. Human interactions and psychology tend to come back a lot in works. First as figurative subjects and now more and more into abstraction. I am very much intrigued by the emotional power colour and form can have on us when watching an image or a painting.

 

You are completing a one year artist residency at the Swiss Institute in Rome, what do you hope to gain from this?

More confidence in experimenting with other medias and aesthetics. Iʼve been questioning my work a lot lately. How could I get rid of itʼs polished aspect? How could it become ugly in an interesting way?

At some point I became very frustrated with the images I would produce, especially the flat and shiny materiality of photographic prints. Which I feel like a lack of materiality and creates a certain coldness or distance with the works. In Rome I am searching ways to print images differently and even considering making my works as installations rather than photographs. This involves a lot of experimenting and learning new techniques. I just hope to find some answers to my questions and to produce new works by the end of July.

Will you be approaching your art in a different way during the residency? Will there be a slightly different focus???

Totally, the focus has been a lot on materiality, paint, and installations. I guess I am trying to figure out whatʼs interesting in my way of making images and how Iʼd like to present that research.


 

You obtained a Bachelor in Visual Communication & Photography at Lausanne’s ECAL, did you enjoy your time there?? What would you say was the most important thing you learnt from this place?

Ecal is a lot about aesthetics which means you learn how to create powerful images but also gets stuck into a certain type of style.
This is something I started to doubt and deconstruct after school, which I am still figuring out today.

 

 
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Would you say there are other artists/designers that you have learnt off or been inspired by?

Sure, I am inspired by so many things and people. Most of the time the artistʼs work have nothing to do with my practice but itʼs their singularity that inspires me. The way they work and think.

Do you have a special place you like to create?

In my studio and my bed.

Do you have any morning rituals?

Drink japanese green tee in bed prepared by my boyfriend, shower, go to work.

What puts a smile on your face?

the warm roman sun in the gardens of the Swiss Institute

 
 

How do you chill?

alone in the park watching people and wondering about their lives

One book, one movie, one track?

«No one belongs here more than you» by Miranda July, The holy Mountain from Jodorowsky, Khrunangbin, «August 10»

Aside from art and design do you have any other passions/loves???

Yes food and cooking!

Favourite place in the world? And why?

Any art museum, because I loose track of time and get filled by some much energy


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What are you looking forward to the most for 2019?

Hopefully start a Fine Art master in The Netherlands.

 

11.03.19